Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Hello, all! This is the first Spring I am planting in my own garden, so I am very excited for the coming months.  Before now, I lived for many years in urban environments like New York and New Jersey, and although it’s not impossible to live sustainably there (think: vertical farming on a patio), it proved difficult for the types of yields we wanted.  Shown are about a quarter (25%) of what I am planting in my new suburban backyard garden, just what needed to be started indoors and transplanted in one to two weeks.

In the photo, from the top left, in the individual “Jiffy” pots (which I love, since they can be planted directly into the soil, pot and all), we have a week’s worth of growth of organic okra (3), and just below that, organic Medford tomatoes (3); in the black self-watering seed starter from Burpee we have (from top left to right):  organic sweet marjoram (2), organic chives (3), and organic thyme (far upper right); second row: organic catnip (1), organic dill bouquet (3), and more organic thyme (2); row three: organic Italian parsley (2), organic sweet Thai basil (3), and organic culinary sage (1); row four: organic oregano (1), organic cilantro (3), and more organic culinary sage (2); row five: more organic oregano (2), organic “The Student” parsnip (3), and organic Marconi Rosso pepper (1); bottom row (left to right): organic Calypso celery (1), organic zucchini (3), and organic Marconi Rosso pepper (2).  Finally, the three right-hand peat moss planters contain, from left to right, De Cicco broccoli, Calypso celery, and more broccoli, all organic and heirloom as well. 

I chose to plant this herb and veggie garden to complement my other (imminently growing) veggies and fruits for a number of reasons.  First of all, I believe organic small-scale gardening/farming to be the key to sustainability worldwide:  by avoiding highly genetically manipulated foods, we are helping our health and standing up for agricultural rights of small-scale farmers everywhere.  Secondly, an organic, alkaline diet is highly necessary for my mother’s health, as she is a cancer survivor who kept herself healthy through mostly holistic methods, one of which was switching eating habits from highly processed and GMO foods to an all-organic, semi-vegetarian, alkaline diet. 

Specifically, celery is excellent for clearing your blood of accumulated toxins; tomatoes, highly alkaline, are detoxifying as well, and contain antioxidants, vitamin C, A and K, anti-carcinogenic components coumeric acid and chlorogenic acid, promote healthy gut flora, control hypertension and gallstones, and improves skin, teeth, bones, and hair; sweet marjoram, dried, cooked, or put in a tea, promotes sleep; chives, high in flavonoids, decrease plaque buildup in the arteries, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as contain vitamin K, C, and A, potassium, iron, calcium, folate, riboflavin, and thiamin; thyme was planted for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, as well as its nutrient content of vitamin C, A, iron, manganese, copper, and dietary fiber; catnip is to drink in tea and for the cat I want to get to play with!; I planted dill for it’s antioxidant, antimicrobial properties, as well as its fiber, iron, and calcium content; parsley, which contains myristicin, a nutrient shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, as well as flavonoids and antioxidants, and folic acid; sweet basil for its antimicrobial volatile oils, flavonoids, ability to reduce inflammation, increase immune function, and detox the blood, and for stomach and menstrual cramps, nausea, fever, headaches, coughs, and digestive issues;   sage, for its relief of menstrual and stomach issues, and high content of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories as well as the ability to increase memory and “cleanse” the home of negative energy when carefully burned; oregano, for its anti-carcinogenic (inhibition of cancer cells) properties, and to modulate colds, cramps, and fatigue; cilantro, for its antioxidants and ability to cleanse the body of toxic metals, prevent cardiovascular damage, control anxiety, and enhance sleep; parsnip for its content of fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin C; the peppers for lycopene, carotene and vitamin C; zucchini, which can be eaten grilled or raw, for its folate, fiber and magnesium; and finally, broccoli for its anti-inflammatory flavonoids, high vitamin D content, detox properties, and cholesterol-lowering benefits. 

A great benefit of almost all of these plants and herbs is that they taste and smell divine, which is a great addition to cooking and entertaining.  Happy gardening, HomeGrowners!

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